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Everest 2003: Ben Clark
Dispatch


Dispatch 27, April 29, Base-camp, 16,400’

This is one of four rest days I will be taking to allow my body to recover from having visited 25,000’.  This is standard practice in how we acclimate to the high altitude.  We go up, we go down and then we go back up again and are stronger than before.  After these rest days I will attempt the summit.

As for Jon, he is going to be staying here in base-camp and taking care of dispatching information to everyone after we have reached the North-Col and are three days away from the summit.  Although his effort to make ABC was a valiant one, it was his last.  A Russian doctor, a man instrumental in repairing many people around base-camp fixed Jon’s “sausage toe” this morning and I told him it would be a healthier alternative to stick here and stay away from moving around too much.  I wish he could come to ABC for the summit attempt but high altitude is not an environment where the sick or injured rehabilitate efficiently.  Jon will be O.K.

I have been on trips before where I got a tiny cut that would usually heal in two to three days at sea level that would instead last three to four weeks because of my bodies inability to recover quickly at high altitude. This is one more reason why you must work very hard to have a wealth of experience before attempting a peak like Everest, sometimes it can be a very minute problem you don’t anticipate that can become a significant or trip ending illness or injury in a matter of a few days.

Keep Dreaming, Ben Clark

Dispatch 28, May 3, 2003,: Base-camp, 16,400’

Whew!  This is my last rest day before taking off tomorrow for ABC!  Not a minute too soon either, I’ve been resting pretty hard.  In fact, I think that when it comes down to resting, sitting in a chair and corresponding with all of you is the best way to insure I won’t be stressing my body out at all!

Our plan is to leave tomorrow, May 4.  We will be making the twelve-mile hike to Advanced Base Camp and then resting for a few days before plodding our way up the North Col and into two more camps before we will be camping at just over 8300 meters.  We will make our way up the remaining 1500’ from 27,500’ to the summit on what will ideally be a perfect weather day between the 10th and 14th of May.  Anything less than a perfect day or a day like we are having today where all the tents are whipping like johnson grass in the wind and the 70 mph jet-stream is stripping our future trail of snow, and well, we may not make it.  Folks, that is the luck of the draw.

As I prepare for the climb, I want everyone to know that I appreciate all of your support.  The prayers, the questions, the curiosity and the stories we have shared over the last month have been very comforting amidst such adverse conditions and truly allowed me to focus intently on appreciating and understanding the experience so that I can relay it to you. I am also inspired by the heartfelt and inquisitive responses that I have gotten from so many of you who I know have no desire to  be here but are still interested in this amazing experience.

On our summit day we will leave around 4 AM, it will be very cold and I will be very determined to stay focused on survival and making good judgement calls each step of the way.  Most mountains I go to I know whether I will make it to the top or not, this one…we can only see.  That isn’t the greatest draw of the experience but it certainly peaks my interest as an explorer, with so many factor’s present I can only assure one thing, I will do my best! 

Thanks Everyone! Ben Clark

Dispatches

 





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